Friday, October 12, 2018

Pungo Anchorage - what a night!

The Coast Guard was busy removing debris and logs from the Alligator - Pungo Canal
The wind howled like a banshee! The night was dark, the boat shook from side to side, the wind made a roaring sound (hard to describe), at times the boat would lead over from the force of the wind on the mast. We would get sustained gusts in the 40's. The wind peaked at 48 kts in one gust which pushes four times as much as a 25 kt wind. The boat responded to the pressure by heeling over. I had 12 lines securing the boat to the dock via the pilings, no cleats although I would not have trusted them anyway.

This is the famous Wilkerson Bridge with a low height for an ICW bridge which are supposed to all be 65 ft.
A quiz, what's the height? Do you read the middle of the number, the bottom? We really do not know.
The wind started out off the port side and gradually clocked around to the aft. I had added an aft line just for that eventuality and it did its job. The most amazing thing is being in a boat, even at a dock, and listening to that wind! I cannot imagine what the residents of Panama City heard when Michael came ashore with 155 mph winds! I wouldn't want to be in anything greater than 50 kts.

It's not that we were unsafe. The boat was secure, the pilings were well made, there was no wave action so we were relatively calm compared to someone anchored out in higher winds. Nevertheless, it was some experience. The combination of roaring winds and nighttime in a rocking boat is hard to describe. The winds suddenly calmed around 2:00 am confounding predictions of higher winds.

We were rewarded with a nice sunset at our anchorage tonight
There was no damage to the boat, it rode out the storm fine, it was the occupants that needed to recover. So we left Friday morning to reach the Alligator Swing Bridge before they started working on it again with the attendant delays in openings. We got through without delay and headed south. The winds freshened up again to 20 kts was they were out of the north, directly behind us, no problem.

We reached the Pungo anchorage and collapsed. Time to rest and get a good night's sleep. I was up every few hours last night.